You wouldn’t imagine driving your car without having the proper auto insurance in place, so why would you let someone else? If another person—friend, relative, roommate—is driving your car consistently, then you may want to consider adding them to your insurance policy. Though you may be hesitant to do so, it could actually benefit you in the long run. You just need to know a few things before you proceed.
- Their driving history matters.
Do you think they’re a good driver? Hopefully yes, if you’re letting them drive your car. However, do you know all about their past accidents? What about their tickets? Unfortunately, those can remain on their auto insurance (and consequently, yours) for 3 years following the date of incident.
Thus, if you’re a young or less experienced driver, then adding someone with a proven driving record can actually bring your premiums down. Don’t try this technique if the person doesn’t actually drive your vehicle, though. This is a prohibited practice known as “fronting,” which (at best) can invalidate your insurance policy and (at worst) can land you in legal trouble for fraud. It also comes into play if the more mature driver is listed as primary in hopes of lowering rates, even though the other person on the policy actually uses it more. We see this situation a lot with parents and their children.
In the reverse situation, you can experience the opposite effect. Adding a driver with a poor record—or simply an inexperienced one—can quickly drive your premiums up. Those under 25 are especially susceptible to this problem, so you may want to consider adding them temporarily if they’re not going to be using your car that much.
- Other factors come into play to determine the exact cost.
Insurance companies don’t just rely on driving records to calculate potential risks. They can also consider information like your relationship with the other driver, their age and marital status, whether or not they own a vehicle, what type of license they have, and/or any disabilities notated in association with it. Additionally, they may charge you an administrative fee each time you have to amend your policy—so think before adding someone and taking them off the policy again repeatedly throughout the year.
You also don’t necessarily want to switch insurance companies to avoid this. Many times, you get discounts for customer loyalty and having a claim-free history. Both of which don’t often transfer if you move your policy from one carrier to another. So, what seems like an easy fix in the short term can actually end up costing you money in the long run.
- Just because you have comprehensive coverage, doesn’t mean that extends to another person’s car—and vice versa.
It’s a common misconception concerning “third party” drivers who aren’t specifically named. If you have comprehensive coverage and the owner’s permission, you still need to double check with the insurer in question. Those same factors that come into play when determining costs can exclude a third party driver in specific situations; most of which are usually spelled out in the full contract.
Additionally, even when this coverage applies, it’s usually only designed to kick in for emergency situations. Thus, if it’s determined that an accident occurred during “regular use” and the driver isn’t named on your policy, then you could be personally responsible for the ensuing damages. Furthermore, if you’re under 25, you can pretty much toss out any third party assumptions.
If you’re still not sure what to do in this situation, feel free to pick our brains! Not only can we give you specific quotes for additional drivers, but also we can answer questions about your personal policy and even give you information on temporary coverage. Use our experience at Freedom Insurance to your advantage!
Ultimately, if you’re in a situation where another person is using your vehicle, you’ll want to discuss your options with a knowledgeable insurance agent. At Freedom Insurance, we look at your person policies, inside and out, before many individual recommendations for your needs (not to mention budget). So, don’t be afraid to ask! We’re here to help, after all.